Extras walk by nonchalantly as Craig and Ashley make out on the school’s front steps. I say “make out,” but really they’re kissing fairly chastely, which is a disappointment to everyone, if by “everyone” I mean “me.” Craig goes away, comes back, goes away, and comes back again for one more kiss. Ashley finally pushes him away and says that her mom will be there “in a sec.”
Craig tries to extract a promise that she’ll call him later, but she can’t commit. Her dad’s Big Gay Wedding has taken over her entire life: dressing fittings, rehearsal dinners, driving to the airport to pick up Big Gay Step-Daddy’s sister…Craig tells her that he likes airports. People say “hello” and “goodbye” at airports. They even say “I love you,” for instance. Ashley begins to ask Craig if he’s just said the L word (the non-lesbian one, though I can see how you’d be confused in all the gayness), but he teases that he only says it in airports.
Before she can get him to confess, Ash’s Not-Gay Mom pulls up. She’s less than pleased to see Ashley snuggled up with Craig, and one has to assume that she’s hip to the whole Manny/Craig/Baby debacle. All sorts of garbage pours from Craig’s mouth as he tries to greet Ms. Kerwin who ignores him and demands that Ashley get in the car. Craig rambles that he’ll call her and stuff. Ms. Kerwin tells him not to bother.
Her comment is almost as heinous as the remixed theme song.
When we come back, Ash and Craig are sitting in the hallway at school. Ashley says that she will tell her mom she’s back together with Craig, end of story. Craig’s still bummed by the “don’t bother” comment and wants to know what it means. It means that next time Ashley isn’t going to tell her mom all the gory details of the breakup. They are each wearing a thick leather wrist cuff, on opposite arms. Aww! Craig tells her there won’t be a next time. Dear Craig, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Kisses, me.
The screeching of an accordion, playing a vaguely familiar tune, interrupts the tender moment. As Craig follows the sound into the cafeteria, the instrument is joined by an off-key voice. It’s easily recognizable as Marco’s off-key voice, mangling the lyrics to the Downtown Sasquatch song “Dust” in a most amusing way. At the root of the recording is Marco himself. He’s sitting in the caf with Spinner and a boombox, looking gloomy.
“Is that what I think it is?” Craig asks. Spinner – who I am tempted to give a nickname, like Mr. Sucks Ass – bitches that it’s the song they were supposed to record, until Craig gave it all up for “Miss Band Breaker-Upper.” Ashley joins them, and everyone agrees that the song blows. Marco adds that it’s the last single Downtown Sasquatch will ever put out. Speaking of putting out, I wonder if Marco would be so pissy if he were still seeing Dylan? Spinner dumps out the contents of his bag, spilling several dozen CDs on the floor. He tells Craig that they sometimes stick if you throw them at the ceiling hard enough. Marco pulls the CD out of the boombox and bounces it off Craig’s chest before stomping away. Ash holds on to his arm and echoes what she said earlier – she and Craig are back together, and that’s that.
J.T. hands Liberty an enormous stack of pink paper. Through a lot of exposition, we learn that the stack contains scripts which Liberty wrote by adapting Dracula (the book, not the movie, says J.T.). For reasons that are not clear to me, Liberty thinks it’s pedestrian and a reputation-killer. Apparently, she had a reputation before that I wasn’t aware of. Manny tries to cheer her up by telling her she’s stubborn, and J.T. pipes up that she’s self-confident to the point of “social retardation.” These guys are the best.friends.ever. Without taking back the mean stuff, J.T. adds that Liberty is talented, brilliant, even. He then instructs her to eat a muffin and chill, because her director says so. In Liberty’s head, she erases “socially retarded” and files away “brilliant.”
In the Media Immersion lab, Craig and Ashley are flirting via Degrassi’s instant messaging program. They use annoying chatspeak like “r u working.” Which, by the way, Ashley isn’t. Working. She’s doing wedding stuff. Giving classroom etiquette the boot, Craig rolls his chair closer and shows Ashley a bunch of lyrics he’s written. Only one song is finished, he explains, but the last few nights he’s been staying up. Snake implies that they should stop talking, but isn’t very forceful about it.
Craig keeps rambling about how he’s got all this inspiration, energy. He would have waited until later to show her, but he needs to know what she thinks right now. (Every time I mention Craig in this recap, you should picture him being restless and twitchy, and then you’ll be about halfway to reality.) Snake tells them to pipe down, only Craig couldn’t care less. When Craig continues to ignore him, Snake yells his name. Craig pops right out of his chair and yells “WHAT?!” There is a collective “ooh” from the students. Snake tells him to go introduce himself to the lonely computer in the corner, but Craig shouts that it’s supposed to be independent study, and so he should be able to do whatever he wants. Ashley looks confused by his outburst, which only gets better. “Me?” Craig says, as he slings his bag over his shoulder, “Independent and walking. You? Study my butt leaving!” Snake says they’ll study his butt at the office. Kinky!
The scene cuts to Craig walking up some stairs, and Ashley meets him in the middle. It’s confusing, because you’d think this would be a “Craig’s sad and wandering” montage, but it takes place later in the day. Ashley asks him if he’s at least reasonably calm. His issue, as it turns out, is that everyone is trying to separate them. Ash points out that they were passing notes and talking in class. Craig wants to know whose side she’s on. He’s being erratic, you understand.
He wants her to convince her mom that he’s not Satan’s kin, that he’s changed and great and good, because otherwise the rehearsal party is going to suck. Ash suggests that they work on her parents after the wedding. Craig starts to go off that she doesn’t want him at the party – and who could blame her? He’s acting like a crazy person, eh? She tries to tell him that she does want him to go, but he’s already run away.
Manny is reading a scene from the play. She’s asking Alex to kill her when the time comes. Me! Me! Let ME do it! Some random boy tells them that the sun is almost set, and there’s some blah blah from Manny about Dracula’s blood and how Dr. Van Helsing can save her life but only Jonathan can save her soul. Liberty looks pretty proud of herself as Miss Kwan bursts into applause. Not so fast! Principal Radditch would like to have a word.
Emma tells Liberty that the scene was really good. Alex says, “it was a little gross, too.” She means that in a good way. Manny gives her a thumbs up. Go Liberty, it’s your birthday! J.T. hugs her and tells her that it was awesome.
The camera shifts to Radditch, raining on the parade, and then right back to Liberty and J.T. defending the play. Someone needs to teach the intern how to edit the episodes or something. Radditch is not so down with severed heads and stakes through the heart, especially not after they’ve experienced such a violent event. Liberty quotes Van Helsing from the novel: “This power of good you have won from your suffering.” J.T. says that they’ve all been suffering since Rick died, and Liberty claims to have written the play to show the school that all things get better with time. Radditch wants something happier. Like a musical.
“A musical about Dracula?” Liberty grouses. No! Radditch wants a musical about Degrassi, and all the wonderful things that happen there! Let’s make a list: kid gets bullied until he shoots and paralyzes the school basketball star and then dies struggling for the gun, girl gets beaten by same bullied boy until he finally puts her in a coma, girl has sex one time and gets pregnant and has an abortion, girl gets raped but her accuser is found not-guilty during the trial, beloved teacher gets cancer…Wow! It could be like Rent but nowhere near as good! Radditch tells them that, even though the drama club is supposed to start rehearsal tomorrow, they have to rewrite the play overnight.
Rap music plays, so you know that it’s going to be a scene with Jimmy. Now that Chris is pretty much out of the picture, Jimmy is The Boy With Street Cred. He’s doing painful looking pull-ups on the bar suspended above his bed when Craig walks in, complaining that Ash is going to dump him. “It is her turn, right?” grumbles Jimmy. I truly do [heart] me some Jimmy.
Craig wants Jimmy to give him advice, like standing outside a window with a stereo. I like how, whenever these two talk about Ashley, no one mentions that she was Jimmy’s girlfriend first. Jimmy does another pull-up and then grimaces, dropping to the mattress and flinging the bar in frustration. Craig apologizes for always showing up to talk about himself, but Jimmy appreciates that. Everyone else comes in and talks about the weather, his prognosis or his legs. But enough about that, Craig should just get Ashley alone and talk to her.
Like that will happen. Her house is full of “wedding” and Caitlin is painting at his place. Jimmy asks if he should look into vacancies at the hospital. Haven’t kids these days heard about taking a walk? Going to the park? A light bulb goes on over Craig’s head as he remembers what other places have “vacancies.”
At Casa de Joey y Caitlin, everyone is eating pizza when Craig arrives. That little Angela is growing like a weed, I tell you. Craig doesn’t want pizza, though. He wants Joey’s credit card. Caitlin says she’ll sign over hers if Craig will paint every room in the house. Craig ignores her, but tells Joey that he can pay up front and he’ll only need the card for one night. Joey changes topics. He knows Craig skipped class because the school called. Craig says that he went to visit Jimmy during a study period, and wants to know what that has to do with borrowing a credit card. Joey won’t do it but chastises that skipping is still skipping and he’s not to do it again. Joey goes to help Caitlin with the lid of a paint can, so Craig steals the card out of Joey’s wallet. Suddenly he’s hungry for pizza.
“Tall, dark and hopelessly lost? You must be Craig.” Craig shows up at some place that looks weddingy, and is accosted by some skinny girl with dirty blond hair. Her name is Sally and she’s going to be Ashley’s aunt because her brother is marrying Ashley’s dad. She’s so hitting on him, and he keeps shaking himself out of staring at her breasts. She says that Ash’s dad told her all about Craig. Craig wants to know which version, was it the one where he has horns and a long pointy tail? Sally is sad to learn that Craig is different now. Slut.
Craig gives a lovely speech about how he hurt Ashley, and how Sally can flirt with him and people can say whatever they want, but he loves Ashley – who is of course standing right behind him and hears the whole thing. She tells him that she thought he only said those types of things at airports. They grin at each other until Craig can’t stand the quiet anymore. He tells her he isn’t staying long, he just came to give her a hotel key for later, in case she needed somewhere to go to get away from the wedding craziness. Before she can respond, Ms. Kerwin interrupts to say there is not room for extra guests, especially uninvited ones.
An elevator door bings open and out walks Craig, his hands over Ashley’s eyes. That sentence sounds like Craig is holding Ashley’s eyes independently of Ashley, but you know what I mean. He leads her to the door of the hotel room and tells her not to peek, though it’s just a hotel hallway with a vending area, and she already knew where they would be going. As he unlocks the door he tells her that it was supposed to be for after the rehearsal party, and as the door swings open it reveals a heart made of rose petals on the floor, the notation A + C inside. There are two beds, two vases of roses, and someone has put red scarves over the tacky lighting.
Ashley says it’s “kind of” perfect. There’s no interrupting friends or teachers or screeching parents, to which Craig adds “horny aunts.” Can they say “horny” on The-N? Guess we’ll find out. Ashley flops herself down on one of the beds and notes that there are two of them. “There are two of us,” Craig says. Ashley removes her jacket and – I swear – spreads her legs a little bit. She wants to know what’ll happen if they only need one. “One bed?” Craig squeaks.
Turns out, Ashley’s into the sex, as long as Craig brought something. His face lights up like, well, a teenage boy about to get some, and he claps his hands loudly and runs to the nightstand. He pulls out about a million condoms and says, “never again will I be without.” Ashley bounces over and thanks him for doing this. She’s not going to kick him in the sack for reminding her of the time he slept with Manny and got her pregnant? Whoa.
They love each other. The moment is perfect. Commence with the lovemaking.
After, Craig is sitting on the edge of the bed in his t-shirt and boxers flipping through channels like he’s on speed. Ashley’s getting dressed in front of the mirror and starts to cry, which freaks Craig out (but at least gets his attention). Ashley’s hair in this scene is totally out of control, which is so realistic, in that my-head’s-been-rubbing-on-the-pillow way. Craig apologizes for whatever it is he did and starts running around offering her snacks and whatever else flits across his brain.
Ashley’s crying because she’s happy, yet overwhelmed. This is also a nicely real touch, so much better than many of the times teens have had sex on TV. Ash tells Craig to keep talking, which he takes as an invitation to talk all crazy. He suggests they go away (like he did to his little sis Angela back in season two) and says they should get an apartment together (much like he told Manny when he wanted to create a shiny happy family). Ashley tells him that she doesn’t want to leave him, not even to go to the wedding rehearsal. “He’s my dad,” she says. “But I’m your Craig,” says the strange boy living in Craig’s hot body. He pouts out his lip and Ashley gives in, telling him that she loves both the men in her life equally, so Craig is coming to the rehearsal with her.
Manny joins Liberty and J.T. for some product-placed Pepsi products, where Liberty tells her that Dracula is dead, but Degrassi: The Musical is born. She and J.T. have decided to center the story around a cafeteria worked named Shelly, to be played by Manny, who will sing while she works. To be specific, she will sing something like this: “On these hallowed halls of stone/Make me want to die alone/Look way up into the sky/Degrassi’s name is something something high.” Manny begs them to be kidding, which they’re not, so J.T. get discouraged and quits. Once he’s gone, Manny encourages Liberty to take J.T. back to her place and brainstorm in the hot tub about ways for Manny to not wear a hairnet.
The rehearsal dinner is at a gay bar, where all the men are wearing Dockers and polo shirts. As somewhat of a gay bar aficionado, I feel like it’s my duty to say that men in real gay bars usually take off their shirts about five minutes after they walk in the door. This is clearly the PG version. Ashley’s slutty aunt-to-be walks by, followed by Toby who has no lines. Even though Craig is hot, no one tries to pick him up, which is also a miracle.
Ms. Kerwin walks up to Craig and Ashley and says she needs a moment alone with the maid of honor. It’s a gay bar and there are jokes there, but I’m too bored to make them. Ashley tells her mom that Craig can hear whatever she has to say, but Craig is being all hyper and tells them to talk alone before walking off to devour a handful of snacks. Ash explains that her dad is marrying another man, and she’s dealing with it, so her mom needs to deal with Craig. Except it’s not the same thing, mom says. Ashley goes on to say that Big Gay Dad left Not-Gay Mom for another man, and not only did she forgive him, she’s throwing him a wedding. But Craig broke “my daughter’s heart,” says Mom all teary-eyed. And Ashley forgave him. Mom tries one more time by explaining that they just got Ash put back together again, but Ashley says she’s happy with Craig and takes off after him.
Boys slow dance with boys. Toby dances with Ashley’s mom before ditching her to follow Sally. Craig and Ashley sway together and talk about how amazing everything is. Craig wants to bottle “this, get drunk on it” for the rest of his life. Uh-oh. Ashley says, “I so, so love you,” and as Craig moves in for the kiss, some techno replaces the schmoopy love song. Craig is helpless against its driving rhythm and tells Ashley that he has to leave, just for a little while. She’s confused, but lets him go.
Accompanied by the unce-unce of the music, Craig runs home and digs a ring out of a box hidden in his closet, singing his song “Dust” all the while. Changing into a suit he tries to hurry back to the club, but is interrupted by Caitlin who asks if he’s going to do a lounge act. He explains that the suit is for the wedding – Rehearsal? Wedding? It’s all so confusing. Craig is sweating and acting so strangely that Joey asks if everything is okay. Of course it is! And, in fact, Craig can’t understand what he was thinking before, when he cheated on Manny. Caitlin answers his rhetorical question by saying that sometimes people make mistakes. Which Craig will “never everevereverevereverever” do again. He’s acting like he’s on crack. He says that he’ll help them paint later, but tonight he’s at Marco’s.
At the Big Gay Wedding Rehearsal, couples are slow dancing again. Ashley notes that Craig’s back and wearing a suit. He pulls her aside to talk. And possibly give her his mother’s ring. Ash is being kind of matter-of-fact about the whole thing. “It’s a ring.” “So it’s your mother’s ring.” “Why are you down on one knee”? Craig’s down there to propose, because he is obviously not right in the head in case you’ve been missing the hints. Ash says that she’s sorry, but no, and Craig says he really wants her to, and Ashley says that she can’t. He tries to force the ring on her finger anyway, and when she won’t accept it he yells that he wants her to marry him. He’s all crushed and crying and runs out.
Liberty and J.T. are hanging in the hot tub when out pops little brother Danny from beneath the water, suggesting that in the musical they turn all the teachers into vampires and kill them off one by one. Liberty gives him the old heave-ho and he goes without argument, which is strange because Danny and J.T. were best friends for about one episode. J.T. is tired and pruning and wants to go home. Liberty explains that the entire drama club is going to show up for musical rehearsal, for which J.T. points out there will be no songs. Liberty sings something about radishes being red and round and gross to eat. She sings it again with some soul and J.T. head-bobs along, adding a verse or two. Liberty says they’ll show up tomorrow with their stupid songs and show Radditch what an idiot he’s being. They’ll be rebels, J.T. says. “Rebels who sing,” Liberty adds.
At the Big Gay Wedding Rehearsal, Slutty Aunt-To-Be Sally asks Ashley if Craig let her down easy. She’s disappointed to learn that the conversation didn’t really go that way. Slutty Sally is also Retarded Sally, who doesn’t understand why Ashley would say no to the boy she loves. I could make a list for this, too, but we’re almost at the end here. Ashley says she does love him, she does. She goes searching for her cell phone, but when Sally asks what she’s going to say, Ashley doesn’t answer.
Back at the hotel of hot teen love, Craig is making a mess of things. Literally. While Ashley calls and calls the hotel, Craig is tearing down the curtains, pulling paintings off the walls, knocking the TV onto the floor and panting heavily. The message light on the hotel phone flashes red as Craig sits and gasps for air while “to be continued” comes up on the screen.
Next week: The answer to why Craig’s so wacky these days.
Get the PopGurls character recap here.